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Loose Motion (Diarrhea) In Children

6 min read

Loose motion is nature’s method of flushing out of impurities and infection from your body. But when diarrhea infects your child, it can be a very difficult time for both you and your child, even though usually in most cases it will get cured in two or three days.
Because, unlike a cough and cold, when your child is affected with loose motion, theYour child will complain of will lose weight considerably and become weaker and tired due to dehydration. And the bad news is that children tend to get loose motions more often than adults.
Loose motion in child

  • What Are The Symptoms Of Loose Motions In Kids?
  • What Are The Symptoms Of Dehydration In Children?
  • What Causes Loose Motion In Children?
  • How Can Loose Motions In Children Be Treated?
  • Is Loose Motion Contagious?
  • What Precautions Can I Take To Protect My Child From Loose Motion?
  • When Should I Seek Medical Attention When My Child Has Diarrhea?

What Are The Symptoms Of Loose Motions In Kids?

You can suspect your child has loose motion or diarrhea if he possess the following symptoms:

  • Frequent bowel movements and loose stool: Having loose stool once in a while is common in children. But if they are having more watery and smelly stool excessively and more frequently, it is an indication of loose motion or diarrhea
  • Loss of bowel control: Your child may unintentionally pass the stool before reaching the toilet as he loses control over his bowel movement
  • Abdominal pain: Your child will compline of having stomach pain and also says it pains when he passing stools
  • Fever
  • Vomiting is also seen to accompany the loose motion
  • Loss of appetite

If not taken seriously, even otherwise, harmless loose motions can turn to be dangerous due to the possible dehydration. Dehydration is the excessive loss of body fluids – water and salt – from the body. Heavy loss of body fluid is often proved to be a life threatening in the case of children.
So watch closely for the symptoms of dehydration even if you feel that you are giving your child proper fluid intake.

What Are The Symptoms Of Dehydration In Children?

These are the symptoms that your child shows if he is undergoing dehydration:

  • Decreased urination or no urination for 12 or more hours is a sign of dehydration
  • Sunken eyes
  • Dry mouth and skin, and feeling extremely thirsty
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling extremely thirsty

What Causes Loose Motion In Children?

There are numerous reasons for your child to catch loose motions. It ranges from the changes in the food habits to severe intestinal infections.

Loose motion due to infections includes:

  • Bacterial infection:
    Bacteria such as E-coli, salmonella etc. causes severe loose motion in children
  • Viral infection: Viruses are most common cause of loose motion found in children. There are lots of virus that can cause loose motion and vomiting in children, such as calicivirus, influenza, rotavirus etc.
  • Parasitic infection: Giardiasis is a parasitic infection found in children caused by a microscopic parasite that lives in the bowel. The greasy stool is the main symptom that separates parasitic infection from viral and bacterial infections

Loose motion due to food habits includes

  • Drinking too much juices: Fruit juices which are laxative in nature can cause loose motion. Fruit juice that contains sorbitol and lots of fructose are also found to cause loose motion in children.
  • Food allergy: Once your child develops new food allergies like nut allergy or lactose intolerance, the loose motion is the very first sign.
  • Indigestion of food: Stomach upset due to not properly cooked food or excessive intake of fat in child’s diet may cause indigestion. Indigestion leads to loose motion

Loose motion due to intake of medicines includes

  • Loose motion after taking Antibiotics: If your baby is under antibiotic medication, there is a chance for having loose motion. This is because antibiotic medicines kill the good bacteria in the intestine along with the bacteria that caused ill health. This results in loose motion

Loose motion due to mouthing objects

Once your child starts to roam around of his own, he tends to lick or bite each and every thing that attracts his attention. Different infectious microorganisms dwell in these things increases the chances of infection that may lead to loose motion

Loose motion due to transition in seasons

It is found that in small children the transition in the season (such as summer to rainy or rainy to winter) triggers loose motion

How Can Loose Motions In Children Be Treated?

  • Drink plenty of water:

    • Unlike what you believe, thirst is not an early sign of dehydration. Your child feels thirsty implies he is already dehydrated, so make him drink water before he feels thirsty to eliminate the possible dehydration
    • If your child refuses to drink water, encourage him to take small sips at a time and repeat it more often. Keeping your child well hydrated is important
    • Never give your child undiluted fruit juices instead you can give pediatric electrolyte solutions, which are now available in different flavors provided your child is more than a year old. This will help to replace the lost electrolytes due to loose motion
    • Tender coconut water is said to be a natural electrolyte. Make your child drink tender coconut water
  • Eat solid or semisolid food:

    • You should give your child solid food like rice, steamed Kerala banana, steamed rice pancakes etc.
    • You should also try to feed your child soups, rice water, mashed potatoes, grains and cereals which are the good source of starch and easily digestible and helps to gain the strength fast
    • Semi fluid porridge of arrowroot powder is also good to give your child to regain strength. Just remember to avoid lots of masalas and sauces while preparing food. Also, avoid food items that loosen the stool, like beans, from your child’s menu
  • Give Probiotics:

Probiotics are good bacteria. Taking probiotics helps to replace the infectious bacteria with healthy bacteria.
Yogurt is an easily available source of probiotics. Give your child 60-180ml of yogurt twice a day

  • Make your child drink milk:

Clear fluids can’t meet the calorie needs of your child’s body. So encourage him to drink milk, if you still breast feed your baby as it is a well-balanced food to consume during diarrhea. Never give cow’s milk or buffalo milk to your baby during this time

Is Loose Motion Contagious?

Whether loose motion is contagious depends upon the reasons behind the loose motion. If it is merely an outcome of some food intake, it is not contagious. On the other hand, if the loose motion is due to infections caused by microorganisms, it is highly contagious. Loose motion can be spread through direct contact with things or surfaces that are contaminated by infectious germs. Therefore, toys, furniture, toilet seats etc. are good agents of infectious germs. Touching these things and then putting the hand into the mouth will result in spreading of germs among the children.
If you cook without properly cleaning your hands after taking care of your child will result spreading this infection to other members of the family.
Drink ample water

What Precautions Can I Take To Protect My Child From Loose Motion?

You can’t always prevent diarrhea 100% as it is highly contagious. But the following precautionary methods can help to reduce your child’s risk of getting this infection once there is an outbreak of this infection.

  • Wash your child’s hand frequently with water and medicated soap, especially when you come to know that there is an outbreak of diarrhea in your neighborhood. If your child is old enough to understand, ask him to wash his hand before eating anything
  • Never give your child food that is sold by street vendors
  • Disinfectant the surfaces that your child may come to contact directly
  • Wash your hands properly before preparing foods
  • Wash and peel vegetables and fruits thoroughly before cooking
  • Always use boiled or filtered water for drinking and cooking

When Should I Seek Medical Attention When My Child Has Diarrhea?

In usual cases, with enough fluid intake and proper rest, loose motion slowly subsides in two or three days. If your child doesn’t show any sign of improvement after a day and also if the symptoms mentioned below show up, then we advise you to seek the medical attention.

  • If you child starts to vomit frequently more and more water and salts are getting lost from the body effecting the electrolyte mechanism. So you should seek immediate medical attention
  • If your child has a high fever
  • When your child happens to be smaller than six months old
  • If not urinated for past 6 hours and your baby is less than six months old and if not urinated for past 12 hours in a grown up child
  • If you find the presence of blood or pus in motion
  • When your child is too weak
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